‘Scream IV’ contributes to endless Scream franchise

Written By Dan Russo, For The Globe

In 1989, Paramount Pictures released Friday the Thirteenth Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan. The film was supposed to bring Jason Voorhees out of Camp Crystal Lake and into the Big Apple. Anyone who has seen the movie knows that that’s not really what the movie is about. Most of Jason’s rampage takes place on a boat going to New York. This is due to budgetary constraints though. Most Friday the Thirteenth films were made with shoestring budgets and late into the franchise it really shows. Money also played a part in the development of the New York set in 2023’s Scream VI. Neve Campbell, who has portrayed Sidney Prescott in all of the previous films, did not come back due to a pay dispute. 

How does Scream VI fare without Wes Craven’s leading lady? It’s a mixed bag. Scream VI follows the continued misadventures of sisters Sam and Tara, played by Melissa Barrera and Jenna Ortega respectively. Tara is in college and Sam closely watches over her sister in New York City. Returning from the previous film are Chad and Mindy, the two surviving friends from last year’s Ghostface massacre, much to my delight. I especially love Mindy. Courtney Cox reappears as Gale, and Hayden Panettiere reappears from Scream 4. Everyone here puts in a great performance, especially Jenna Ortega as to be expected.

Scream VI on its surface is a very fun slasher movie. The kills are great and there are some great sequences of cat and mouse chases. That’s stuff that Scream has always done well and Scream VI is no slouch here. There is one really cool piece of set design here that I don’t want to spoil, but the rest of the movie features your average “scary” New York City locations. We get to see Ghostface on the subway on Halloween, which makes it worth seeing, even if the resulting scene is a bit silly.

Where this movie suffers most is the story. The story isn’t bad per-se, but it is definitely the weakest link of the film. It’s still a Scream story with multiple suspects, Ghostfaces and plenty of bait and switch. But what makes Scream special is the meta-aspect of lamp-shading many of the common tropes seen in horror films. That is pretty lacking in this go-around. There’s very little discussion of the state of the film industry in the movie, and whatever discussion is present is pretty much a reiteration of last year’s “horror movie rules” talk.

If you liked last year’s Scream, then this certainly isn’t a waste of your time. That being said, I wouldn’t blame anybody waiting for streaming with this one. Either way, Scream VI provides another good edition into the series. Let’s just hope they have something more interesting to say next time.